From Regiment To Retainment: Social CRM Boot Camp

School of Fish

Are you all swimming towards the same goal?

We talked a little bit last time about how companies are like machines and need to be tuned up every now and again. This time we’re going to dig a little bit deeper into what that really means and how it will play out within your Social CRM.

This post pulls a lot on imagery from the military (hence the title), schools of fish (hence the picture), and flocks of birds (not shown, but drawn upon). In each scenario, a group of individuals, with individual feelings and goals, all work together to form something of a unified collective, all progressing towards a common goal. It can be beautiful, inspiring and even scary to watch at times.

Companies have worked like this for years. If you’ve ever been at a company long enough, you’ll have seen detailed Org Charts, CRM Stream Charts and Process Flow Graphs. That idea is nothing new.

Although in one area things are changing within the corporate walls of businesses interested in upgrading their standards to those os a Social Business. Social CRM is climbing in the ranks and is now adding a new group of people to those charts and graphs. A new group that needs to be rangled and directed towards the same goals as the company. That group is the Social Customer.

Everything’s Changing By Staying The Same

This is the part of the post where some of you will be arguing with me in your head on one of a few points:

  1. “Businesses have always been social, that’s how they’ve stayed in business. This is nothing new.”
  2. “The whole idea of being a Social Business is to not try to manipulate customers into doing anything. That’s called marketing, not social media.”
  3. “Social media was supposed to free things up for my company, not add more structure and regiment. Joey, you’re stupid.”

I’m not going to defend myself against all those points because that would take too long and I have stuff to do. Instead, let me explain my stance and then we can all move on from there.

I, by no means, think that the advent of social media and deep reporting metrics makes it a viable option to think of customers as manipulative cattle to be steered, corralled and farmed for all they’re worth. Nor, do I think that businesses haven’t been trying to be social for years. Not we just have the tools to make it more a part of the company culture.

Having said that, Social CRM is a function of business and because of that needs to be understood in such a way. There needs to be a clear flow and set of paths for customers to be in, enriching their experience while at the same time moving the company towards its desired goals.

What does that look like, you ask? Well, Chess Media Group, in collaboration with Mitch Lieberman, developed a chart that I think is a pretty good starting line. Take a look:

Social CRM Flow Chart

To fully understand how your Social CRM will work within your machine, or school, or regiment or flock, you have to understand how it works at all. Let’s take a look at some of the things a Social CRM Flow needs:

  • A Vocal Community – You have a community of fans. Now you need them to join the machine and start talking to you. That can either be through online channels (Facebook, email, Twitter, LinedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, etc), or offline channels (phone calls, written letters, focus groups, in-person complaints, surveys, etc). Once they are part of the conversation, you can begin learning from each other.
  • Listening Tools – No matter the channel, you need some sort of resource available to receive and transmit that conversation to the CRM. Whether that resource is a phone screener, interviewer, or detailed listening tool that monitors online activity and sentiment, have something in place to gather those conversations and funnel them in.
  • SCRM – This is where the CRM comes into play. Social CRMs are able to help correctly funnel all communications, including those from online media, to the right person/department. It will record histories, profiles, interactions, transactions, details, data and more to give a 360 degree view of all communications. The communications that take place from this point forward will be driven by human interaction and a continued learning profile of all communicators involved.
  • Protocols – With human interaction driving a lot of communications, it is important to have detailed protocols in place to direct communications that need to be answered in private and which are to be answered in public, which departments are to handle which types of communications, at what points conversations need to be handled in-person or by an executive and what sort of incentives are in place to drive transactions and interactions accordingly.
  • Circular Thinking – The last step is to funnel the responses back into the community in the form of testimonials, brand advocates or case studies, keeping everything in a circular pattern and propagating everything off of all the other actions taken.

Yes, it sounds a lot like a CRM, but this time the customer is more an involved member of the funnel creation as opposed to just something being thrown into one already made.

Just like that school of fish or flock of birds, waves and jetstreams will always keep you guessing as to which move to make next, but the more you go with the flow and stick with your social group of dedicated individuals, you’ll retain your form and keep marching towards your goals.

You may even gather up some more supporters along the way, and isn’t that what business is all about?


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2 Responses to From Regiment To Retainment: Social CRM Boot Camp
  1. [...] From Regiment To Retainment: Social CRM Boot Camp [...]

  2. [...] not enough to simply try and fit all your new processes and strategies on top or beside all your old ones. In fact, a lot of times that will do more harm than [...]

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